Sharney Blackway, a 28-year-old TikTok content creator from Boksburg, Johannesburg, is writing a compelling story—one of courage, hope, and resilience. Recently diagnosed with Stage 2 triple negative breast cancer, Sharney has not only faced her health challenges head-on but has also initiated a crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy to secure funds for her essential treatment.
Sharney’s narrative commenced as an ordinary one. She and her high school sweetheart, Rowayne, were joyfully raising their charming three-year-old daughter. However, life took an unexpected twist when Sharney received her life-altering cancer diagnosis.
Before her diagnosis, Sharney maintained a full-time job, earning minimum wage, while simultaneously pursuing a secondary career as a TikTok content creator. On TikTok, she documented her inspirational weight loss journey, steadily amassing an impressive following of nearly 50,000 supporters by the time her diagnosis arrived.
In Sharney’s own words, “I hoped that by taking control of my health, I would be able to prevent my young daughter from losing me prematurely, or at the very least, be a role model.”
Sharney’s battle began with seemingly minor discomfort—a tenderness in her left breast. Initially dismissing it as inconsequential, her doctor assured her it was a fibroadenoma and prescribed pain medication. However, the pain persisted, disrupting her daily life and work.
Undeterred, Sharney persevered over several months, enduring numerous medical examinations. In January 2023, she received the devastating news: “Mrs. Blackway, you have cancer.” Sharney recalled the emotional moment:
“My husband and I sobbed. We couldn’t believe it. I was told I needed two immediate surgical operations the next day—a chemo pod insertion and another biopsy. I was numb, and this was not part of our financial or emotional plans, especially since my daughter had just started school.”
Sharney’s world was turned upside down, and she not only faced the emotional and physical toll of her diagnosis but also grappled with mounting medical bills.
“I was entirely dependent on overtime, and after the diagnosis, I couldn’t meet some of my bills. My inability to commit to content creation and hairstyling due to surgery and chemo further exacerbated our financial woes. Not only did I battle cancer, but I also lost the additional income that kept us afloat.”
Despite medical insurance covering a portion of her expenses, growing administrative fees and her husband’s need to accompany her to doctor’s appointments strained their finances further.
In response to these challenges, Sharney launched a crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy, aiming to raise R100,000 to cover medical expenses and provide support to her family during this trying period. The campaign has garnered remarkable support, with ten donors contributing over R4,800 since its launch.
Sharney explained, “I use the BackaBuddy funds for basic necessities, including property bills. Although my medical insurance covers most cancer-related expenses, administrative fees have piled up to nearly 10,000. My husband has had to reduce his work hours to support me and attend medical appointments.”
Sharney emphasized the importance of community support, stating,
“My family is an incredible source of strength, but we’re a middle-class family, and these medical bills and basic needs are beyond our means. This page aims to raise awareness about misdiagnosis while seeking donations for medical expenses. While my insurance covers 100% of specialist fees, specialists charge 300%, which is 200% above coverage. Our medical expenses continue to rise daily, and any financial support is immensely appreciated as I focus on completing chemo sessions and additional treatment.”
Sharney completed her chemotherapy on August 7, 2023, and has been placed on temporary disability, facing a reduction in income, which her family heavily depends on. She is awaiting a surgery date for a double mastectomy, scheduled for this week, followed by six weeks of radiation (25 sessions). Her husband will also face salary cuts as he won’t be able to work overtime due to accompanying her.
In addition to her crowdfunding efforts, Sharney has turned to TikTok, where she initially began her journey, to raise awareness about cancer among young people and underscore the importance of early detection. With her TikTok following now surpassing 111 000, she aspires to use her platform for good, inspire others to persevere, and share the power of faith through her journey.
Sharney Blackway’s story is one of bravery, determination, and the incredible support of a united community. As she continues to confront cancer, she remains a symbol of hope, reminding us that even in the face of adversity, we can come together to support those in need.
Support this campaign on BackaBuddy: https://www.backabuddy.co.za/sharney-blackway-5564074276378082492
Alternatively donate via Snapscan: https://pos.snapscan.io/qr/Sharney_Blackway
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